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Spicy 30 Minute Tomato Sauce

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This spicy 30 minute tomato sauce is filled with fresh tomato flavor, crushed red pepper and a hint of smoked paprika…

Spicy 30-Minute Tomato Sauce by Nutmeg Nanny

Tomato sauce simmering away on the stove might just be on the best smells known to man. When I first moved to New York I was a live-in nanny. Coming from Ohio I wasn’t really used to the sights and sounds that came from an Italian kitchen. Large pots of sauce simmering away with sausage, pork braciole and big fat homemade meatballs.My boss would make these giant pots of sauce, freeze them in leftover Chinese food containers and then I would raid the freezer and make pasta with sauce any chance I could get.

Fast forward to current day and I still dream about that sauce. I’m sure I could just call up my old boss and ask for the recipe but I’m pretty sure even if I followed that recipe to the T it wouldn’t taste the same. There are just some recipes that never taste the same coming out of my kitchen – my dads friend chicken, my moms mac and cheese, my bosses sauce and my grandmothers full Southern breakfast spread.

Spicy 30-Minute Tomato Sauce by Nutmeg Nanny Even thought I love that slow simmered sauce sometimes life does not really allow for all that time. So I came up with this quick 30-minute sauce instead. Plus I added a little smoked paprika and crushed red pepper because I’m obsessed with smoked paprika and I love heat. This is the (quick) sauce of my dreams. It’s great on pasta, pizza or just eaten fresh out of the pot with a spoon.


Spicy 30 Minute Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce has never been so easy! This spicy 30 minute tomato sauce is ready in no time and is perfect when served over pasta, pizza or on a spoon.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
Pinch of kosher salt


In a high sided skillet set over medium heat add olive oil.

Once the oil is hot add onion, garlic, smoked paprika and crushed red pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft.

Add in crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, sugar and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the sauce is thickened and flavorful.

Taste the sauce before serving. If the flavor is too acidic simply add another 1/2 teaspoon sugar.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Contadina via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Contadina. 

Sarah Westendorf

Wednesday 8th of October 2014

I used this recipe in a food roundup on my blog, DashandaPinch! Thanks so much for letting me link to your blog.

Maralyn Woods

Thursday 23rd of January 2014

I know what you mean about smoked paprika. I found some at Trader Joe's and took it home. When I unpacked my groceries I opened it and gave it a sniff. OMG! I never looked back. I have found so many used for it and I'm definitely going to try this one too. Thanks for a great blog.

David @ Spiced

Monday 18th of November 2013

Smoked Paprika...what an interesting and awesome addition. I'm totally going to try that out next time I make sauce. Thanks for the idea!!


Tuesday 19th of November 2013

I hope you give it a try and love it! I'm so obsessed with smoked paprika lately.


Sunday 17th of November 2013

I can never make the dishes of my childhood the same way my parents or grandmother could no matter what I do! But I love this new spin on a classic. The smoked paprika is KEY.


Tuesday 19th of November 2013

If I could make fried chicken like my dad I would eat it daily. It's probably better I don't know how...haha


Sunday 17th of November 2013

I love a quick and easy tomato sauce and this one looks fantastic!! I've never used paprika in tomato sauce, such a unique addition :)


Tuesday 19th of November 2013

Thank you! It was so easy and fast. Perfect for the weeknight :)